The first riders out of Abas Sul met them short of the walls of the small city, a dozen men on wiry horses. They were alike in appearance, in spiked helms, and armour of silks and irons. Curved scimitars were at their sides, lances and small shields in hand and from their saddles hung quivers of arrows, as well as short composite horsebows. The riders took one look at the oncoming Aedring and drove their lances into the ground. They drew their horsebows and strung arrows to them. Riding in closer to the Aedring, they wheeled about at the last moment, sending arrows flickering through the air to rain down upon the body of the hillsmen. Few arrows there were, but they sent flight after flight, all the while guiding their horses with their legs to keep them at range. The arrows dropped into the mass of men and women, here and there defeating shield and armour to slay a man, but few they were in comparison to those they faced, some of whom carried bows of their own.
Zethar risked a quick glance down from the hill top where he sheltered. Harmur’s army gathered below, blocking the only real way down. Steep slopes littered with boulders and jagged ridges marred the sides of the hill, making the climb to the top all but impossible, except for one narrow path that wound its way up to the top. There were bodies strewn along the path, twisted and broken from combat.
It dawned grey with the arrival of the following day, rolling clouds sweeping down from the mountains and across the hills, while distant peals of thunder rumbled ominously over the peaks. Down from the hills marched the implacable host of the gathered Aedring, numbering in their hundreds, even unto a thousand, making for the Ishmarite city of Abas Sul. Hraega led them, his hammer over his shoulder. Beneath his armour his ribs had been taped up tight, though he did not let them slow him down, marching on stolidly. Fianna accompanied him at the front of the advance, while their clan took the vanguard, as was their right by tradition.
With the four currently written stories of The Cahuac Cycle now available, it is time to start thinking of what to do next with Wednesdays.
It has always been my goal to do a long, ongoing serial. I’ve got a number of ideas for serials I’d like to do, but the question is which one. I am throwing it open to see what people think and what people would like to see. The choices are as follows;
1) Space Opera: Follows the exploits of humanity as he first heads out into space, discovering new worlds, aliens and adventures. Hard science and profound revelations this won’t be. Initially it will revolve around humanity finding their place in the galaxy as a crew of a ship cut off from Earth try to find a way home.
2) Urban Fantasy: Darker and not your typical UF. There are no vampires, werewolves, zombies or fae. The creatures out there are different. The main character is one of these, a creature drawn into the world to deal with waking nightmares that are stalking a victim for unknown purposes.
3) Cyberpunk/Urban Fantasy: Take an urban fantasy setting, with dvergar and alfar and magic, and mix it up with cybernetics, biogenetics and other cyberpunk tropes. It follows the exploits of a trio down on their luck and insignificant people – a burned out army vet, a hustling street mage and a crippled information gatherer.
4) Fantasy: Don’t expect wizards and knights and castles in this fantasy world. Think of an early time, of petty kings and hill forts, of champions and honour, where magic is untamed and of the forests and hills and waters.
Hearken to me, O Children, and hear of the days when the world was still new, and the dew lay wet upon the ground, of a time when the shadows crept from the dark places to haunt the People.
In those days, the earliest of which we know, in the past so distant that the numbers of the days since are beyond those of the stars of the night, the People dwelt as one. They feared neither the shadows nor the dark places from which they crept, for they were mighty hunters.
Screams echoed from the small camp through the hills surrounding it, torn from the sleeping form of Nhaqosa. Abasan, Niati and Lakach were startled from their sleep at the sound of it. It soon became apparent that they could do nothing to aid the minotaur. All they could do was watch on, uncertain and deeply concerned. Nhaqosa writhed on the ground even as he continued to sleep. His crippled hand reached out towards the sky, clawing futilely at the air.
The Cahuac Cycle has its origins many years ago, back in the late 90s. I was taking part in an online shared world building game. Each of us took control of a stone age tribe in various parts of the world and told the story of what happened to them, as they slowly went from palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, settling down and discovering advances such as farming, weaving, domestication of animals and more. We got into the early bronze age from memory. As part of the game, I told a story about Cahuac and his battle with the sun. It was written in such a manner as if it had been told by an oral storyteller from the days before a written language.
Quite a few years later, when working on one of the worlds I’ve written in, I took that old story and worked it into it, as part of the history. I then added three more short stories to flesh it out further, adding other myths and legends of the deeds of Cahuac.
I have recently started to add some more to them again. One, Cahuac and the Fisherman, has been finished, another, The Seven Sons of Cahuac, has almost been finished and two more, yet to be named, have been planned. After they have all been written and tidied up, they will join the first four on the site.
Hear, O Children, of the eldest of days when the world was yet young and the dew lay still upon the ground, of a time when the shadows from the dark places stalked the People.
In those days, the earliest that we know, in the past so distant that they are beyond the numbers of the sands on the shores, the People dwelt as one. Mighty hunters they were, who feared not the shadows, nor the dark places from which they crept.
The figure that pursued Nhaqosa across the wastes had grown much closer. It occurred to Nhaqosa, a distant notion coming through the numbed thoughts of his aching mind, that the figure should have been easy to make out, and yet something seemed to be preventing him from distinguishing its features.